horz line

Plot Against Aristos?

photo, blvd montparnasse, le select

Wet night in Montparnasse.

Bush Speaks to the French?

Paris:– Monday, 21. February 2005:– On Friday the French hustled to fill a yawning vacuum left by Thursday's ban on fox hunting in England and Wales that followed a last appeal and a seven–year legal battle. According to reports in Le Parisien, fox hunters of all political stripes are welcome to continue chasing foxes in the forest of Ecouves, near Alençon in Normandy.

Also fast off the mark, the hunting club at Pau, founded in 1840, once patronized by Edward VII and Winston Churchill,photo, terrace cafe, edgar quinet also welcomes new blood, and money. The club, with about 20 members, has fallen on hard times. Foxes in the region are thriving according to the head of Pau's tourist office and the tradition only needs a wake–up call."We've already been contacted by several hunt clubs," a spokesman said.

A terrace for the hardy.

The few English settled in the area are also willing to help out their fellow countrymen in need, and make some money. Hunt leaders in Suffolk and Essex expect that they'll be sending 25,000 hunters with families and dogs to the Pau region, "Within five or six years," one said. The idea is to keep the hounds in France, because board is cheaper here. Plus, flights to Pau from Stansted are available for as little as 30€.

Taking a continental attitude, the mayor of Pau is reported to have asked the European Union for a subsidy to restore Pau's hunt club to its former glory. As a fox–control measure, it could hardly be more appropriate than to have the English do it in the name of Europe.

However it is fairly well–known in France that the highest rates of mortality among the aristocratic classes are due to riding accidents. Statistics are vague but it is thought that horses have directly or indirectly killed more aristos in France than all the revolutions combined.

Nevertheless English hunting fans are unlikely to be deterred, possibly because health care in France is efficient and far less costly than in Britain. France also boasts of considerable advances in the care of the totally handicapped as well as laws favoring their access to public transport and employment.

On Thursday in Britain hunt clubs were reported to have fielded between 150 and 260 hunt packs. Hunt spokesmen did not indicate how many foxes had been brought to earth, and declined to guess. Massive flaunting of the new law, by up to 70,000 hunters, is expected on Saturday. Police are readying their feeble measures of repression.

Hunting has been going on in the British Isles since 1660, and in good years and bad, about 21,000 to 25,000 foxes are torn to bits by hunting hounds. Spokesmen have said that the new law is 'so bad' that it will be ignored by 'all who are concerned.'

Anti–hunting efforts have been going on for 80 years, and the ban was first established in Scotland, before being applied in England and Wales on Thursday. Reports suggest that huntingphoto, le dome, shellfish is supported by many who have no access to it, and that the ban may prove embarrassing to Labour leader Tony Blair.

Clarence House spokesman refused to confirm that Prince Harry, Princess Anne and her daughter Zara, as well as the future wife of Prince Charles, Camilla Parker– Bowles, would be participating in Saturday's pro–hunting manifestations. Prince Charles is a vegetarian and an accomplished polo player.

The oyster men stay outside.

TV–news reported mass disobedience on Sunday night, but President Bush's arrival in Europe late on Sunday eclipsed the story for today's Le Parisien. Also fighting for space were the Euro referendum results from Spain, the Socialist victory in Portugal, the continuing strike at Orly and a raft of other 'faits divers.'

What Strike?

Ground crew at Orly were continuing the strike that began on Friday, to protest the Air France sanctions against an employee after a flight hostess fell to her death off a boarding ramp on 1. February. The spontaneous strike hit heavy traffic at the beginning of the school holidays in the Paris region.

The airline has slated a meeting to decide whether to fire the employee, for Thursday, 3. March. On receiving notice of the possible sanction on 16. February, the union Sud–Aérien declared the employee to be a union delegate, which offers protection against dismissal.

The strikewas suspended by the morning crew on Sunday, but a vote by the afternoon ground crew decided to continue the conflict. Air France intends to try and keep flights operating by using non–union personnel, especially for overseas arrivals and destinations.


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